HOMELESS SERVICES DISSED

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The Mayor’s newly-released proposed budget for 1998, while declaring an election-year surplus of $856 million in the city coffers, still manages to exclude the neediest New Yorkers–the homeless–from all the fun.

According to the budget-crunching City Project, Giuliani continues to try to cut funds for Homeless Services, slashing the city’s capital budget down to $18 million-reduced from $85 million in 1995. The administration also slashed the expense budget by ten percent. In fact, $1.5 million will be cut as a result of re-estimation of the number of homeless families-reducing the overall number of people served.

“Essentially, what he is doing is nickel-and-diming the shelters,” says the City Project’s Glenn Pasanen. The cuts include:

— $500,000 less in supplies for adult single shelters
— $194,000 less in medical services, reducing spending on training of medical personnel
— $150,000 less in food money for adult single shelters
— $226,000 in job and overtime cuts

Another program in danger is the Homelessness Prevention Legal Services Program, which provides legal representation to SRO tenants living in inadequate housing or in danger of eviction. For the seventh year in a row, the mayor has proposed a $1.8 million cut; each year, the City Council has restored funding. Steve Banks of the Legal Aid Society calls it “a short-sighted and disruptive move.”